Justice is dead or alive?

John Rawls model of justice

Pg. XI.

Editor’s Foreword,

“A political conception of justice is justified by reference to political values and should not be presented as part of a more “comprehensive” moral, religious, or philosophical doctrine.”

Pg. 2

“One is that political philosophy may contribute to how a people think of their political and social institutions as a whole, and their basic aims and purposes as a society with a history — a nation – as opposed to their aims and purposes as individuals, or as members of families and associations.”

Pgs 2-3

“… the members of any civilized society need a conception that enables themselves as members having a certain political status – in a democracy, that of equal citizenship – and how this status affects their relation to their social world.”

Pg. 5

“Society as a fair system of cooperation.”

Pg 6

“The central organizing idea of social cooperation has at least three essential features:

(a) Social cooperation is distinct from merely socially coordinated activity – for example, activity coordinated by orders issued by an absolute central authority. Rather, social cooperation is guided by publicly recognized rules and proceduresaccept as appropriate to regulate their conduct. which those cooperating

(b) The idea of cooperation includes the idea of fair terms of cooperation: these are terms each participant may reasonably accept, and sometimes should accept, provided that everyone else likewise accepts them. Fair terms of cooperation specify an idea of reciprocity, or mutuality: all who do their part as the recognized rules require are to benefit as specified by a public and agreed-upon standard.

(c) The idea of cooperation also includes the idea of each participant’s rational advantage, or good. The idea of rational advantage specifies what it is that those engaged in cooperation are seeking to advance from the standpoint of their own good.”

Pg. 12

“We view justice as fairness not as a comprehensive moral doctrine but as a political conception to apply to that structure of political and social institutions.”

Pg 13

“In justice as fairness the question of justice between peoples is postponed until we have an account of political justice for a well-ordered democratic society.”

Pg 14 (back to editor’s Foreword)

“Finally, I stress a point implicit in what we have said: namely, that justice as fairness is not a comprehensive religious, philosophical, or moral doctrine – one that applies to all subjects and covers all values. Nor is it to be regarded as the application of such a doctrine to the basic structure of society, as if this structure were merely another subject to which that comprehensive view is to be applied. Neither political philosophy nor justice as fairness is, in that way, applied moral philosophy. Political philosophy has its own distinctive features and problems. Justice as fairness is a political conception of justice for the special case of the basic structure of a modern democratic society. I this respect it is much narrower in scope than comprehensive philosophical moral doctrines such as utilitarianism, perfectionism, and intuitionism, among others. It focuses on the political (in the form of the basic structure), which is but a part of the domain of the moral.”

Pg 15

“Justice as fairness adopts … the fair terms of social cooperation are to be given by an agreement entered into by those engaged in it. One reason it does this is that, given the assumption of reasonable pluralism, citizens cannot agree on any moral authority, say a sacred order of values or the dictates of what some view as natural law. So what better alternative is there than an agreement between citizens themselves reached under conditions that are fair for all?”

“The difficulty is this: we must specify a point of view from which a fair agreement between free and equal persons can be reached; but this point of view must be removed from and not distorted by the particular features and circumstances of the existing basic structure.”

My own words, the just society should have the following features: respect, diversity, tolerance.

Diversity includes a ray of different elements, such as white and black, rich and poor, English and Spanish. There is no fairer society than one with diverse elements of one society.

Pg 18

“Justice as fairness regards citizens as engaged in social cooperation, and hence as fully capable of doing so, and this over a complete life. Persons so regarded have what we may call ‘the two moral powers,’ explained as follows:

i. One such power is the capacity for a sense of justice: it is the capacity to understand, to apply, and to act from (and not merely in accordance with) the principles of political justice that specify the fair terms of social cooperation.

ii. The other moral power is a capacity for a conception of the good: it is the capacity to have, to revise, and rationally to pursue a conception of the good. Such a conception is an ordered family of final ends and aims which specifics a person’s conception of what is of value in human life or, alternatively, of what is regarded as a fully worthwhile life.

Pg 19

“Here it is important to keep in mind that justice as fairness is a political conception of justice: that is, it is designed for the special case of the basic structure of society and is not intended as a comprehensive moral doctrine. Therefore, the idea of the person, when specified into a conception of the person, belongs to a political conception.

… the conception of the person itself is meant as both normative and political, not metaphysical or psychological.”

Pg 21

“The relevant meaning of free persons is to be drawn from the political culture of such a society and may have little or no connection, for example, with freedom of the will as discussed in the philosophy of mind. Following up this idea, we say that citizens are regarded as free persons in tow respects.

First, citizens are free in that they conceive of themselves and of one another as having the moral per to have a conception of the good.

A second respect in which citizens view themselves as free is that they regard themselves as self-authenticating sources of valid claims.”

Pg 25

“We cannot tell in advance whether the idea of social cooperation, and its tow companion ideas, will provide the organizing ideas, will provide the organizing ideas we need for a workable political conception of justice. … All we need claim is that the idea of society as a fair system of cooperation is deeply embedded in that culture, and so it is not unreasonable to examine its merits as a central organizing idea. The point is that whatever idea we select as the central organizing idea cannot be fully justified by its own intrinsic reasonableness, as its intrinsic reasonableness cannot suffice for that. Such an idea can be fully justified (if at all) only by the conception of political justice to which it eventually leads when worked out, and by how well that conception coheres with our considered convictions of political justice at all levels of generality in what we may call wide (and general) reflective equilibrium (§10).”

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